Fruits and Vegetables Reduce Stroke Risk

Reuters London reports that new studies conclude a quantitative relationship between consumption of fruits and vegetables and reducing risk of stroke. Professor Graham MacGregor of St George's medical school at the University of London commented on the studies:

For the first time we have shown a quantitative relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and stroke.

It has been known that fruit and vegetables seem to reduce stroke but it wasn't known how much they did it by.

It is a very important finding because it really shows that the quantity of fruit and vegetables you should be eating is more than five a day.

In this excerpt from his book Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman talks about healthfully getting stroke preventing monounsaturated fats and essential fats from plants:

There is no longer any question about the importance of fruits and vegetables in our diet. The greater quantity and assortment of fruits and vegetables consumed, the lower the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.1

The best fats are monounsaturated fats and essential fats (omega-3 and omega-6) present in whole, natural plant foods, including avocados, olives, and raw nuts and seeds. Studies continue to show that consumption of raw nuts protect against both heart attack and stroke, without the risks of increasing heart disease and cancer, as is the case with the high consumption of animal-origin fats.2 When the fats you consume are from whole food, rather than oil, you gain nature's protective package: a balance of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and phytonutrients.

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Reversing Heart Disease with a Nutrient Dense Diet

The buildup of plaque in arteries is a leading killer in America. And it is widely believed that there is little to nothing that can be done to reduce the plaque once it is there.

In his book Eat to Live, Dr. Fuhrman explains that research and first-hand experience show heart disease is reversible:

Two things are necessary to predictably reverse heart disease: one is to become thin and superbly nourished, and the other is to get your LDL below 100. Reversal of heart disease then occurs.
In studies, patients eating certain kinds of diets have demonstrated modest reduction in plaque (more on that below). Dr. Fuhrman has found that with the aggressive diet he advocates, greater reductions in plaque are common. "My patients demonstrate much more dramatic cholesterol lowering since the advised dietary program is based on nutrient density," he explains, "and reversals from 20 to 40 percent per year are typical in my experience. I even have a patient who reversed his carotid blockage from 80 percent to undetectable in one year on carotid ultrasound."

Dr. Fuhrman's book Cholesterol Protecion for Life covers a lot of this in depth. An updated and expanded version of that book will be out soon, and here is an excerpt:

Studies preformed by Dean Ornish and other investigators have documented the effects of a low-fat vegetarian (vegan) diet on patients with heart disease and found reversal of the condition occurred in the majority of patients. The reversal was modest, but nevertheless, no study previously showed diet could be so effective at preventing and reversing heart disease.

Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.
of the Cleveland Clinic put together a program utilizing a vegetarian plant-based diet with the addition of cholesterol-lowering medication in 18 patients who had severe angiographically demonstrated coronary artery disease. All of these high-risk patients with advanced heart disease were noted to have no coronary events during the following 12 years, and on repeat angiogram, 70% were found to have regression of their disease and none had progression.1 When you consider these 18 patients had experienced 50 coronary events during the 8 years before this study, you have to agree on the effectiveness of combining plant-based nutrition with cholesterol lowering.

Dr. Esselstyn tracked these patients for 17 years, which is the longest ongoing research project of this kind, and not one of these people, who years ago had severe heart disease, has had any further cardiac complaints or heart attacks.

Dr. Esselstyn also tracked the long-term results in six of his patients that did not want to adhere to the diet and returned to the standard care of their cardiologists. They experienced 13 new cardiac events during the first 12 years.

Although Ornish and Esseltyn studied vegetarian diets, Dr. Fuhrman has found that when reversing heart disease is the goal, eliminating meat is hardly the only important step. The diet Dr. Fuhrman recommends in Cholesterol Protection for Life is more specific, and more aggressively heart-healthy. (In addition, Dr. Fuhrman's book advocates natural supplements--including delta tocotrienol, plant sterols, policosanol, and pomegranate extracts that can be helpful. On DrFuhrman.com you can read all about the supplements he recommends, complete with 16 references to articles in respected journals.)

High nutrient density makes a measurable difference. From an article on DrFuhrman.com:

Dr. Fuhrman's Eat To Live approach is the only dietary plan that has ever been shown in medical studies to lower cholesterol more effectively than cholesterol lowering medications. Other dietary programs, such as the Atkins diet plan, have been relatively ineffective at lowering cholesterol. Though the low-fat vegetarian diet did lower LDL cholesterol 16%, it raised triglycerides 18.7% and the LDL/HDL ratio remained unchanged, reflecting minimal overall improvement. The Eat To Live approach differed in that the LDL cholesterol was more significantly lowered without unfavorable impact on HDL or triglycerides, reflecting sizable improvement in cardiac risk factors.

LDL Cholesterol Lowering Results
Method% Decrease in LDL Cholesterol
American Heart Association Standard Low-Fat Advice6%
High Protein Atkins' TypeNo significant change
Low-Fat Vegetarian16%
High Olive Oil MediterraneanNo significant change
Cholesterol Lowering Medication Statins26%
Eat to Live - Fuhrman Type, Lower Cholesterol without Drugs33%

For those desiring more than mediocrity, for true protection against heart disease and premature death, there is a clear-cut answer—Eat To Live. The most effective—and safest—way to lower your LDL cholesterol level is through this approach that could save your life.2

In a meeting the other day, Dr. Fuhrman said something that I found amazing: to his knowledge, no one in his care, following his recommended diet, has ever had a heart attack. (Of course, he has no way of knowing about the people who have left his care.) 15 years of practicing medicine. How many doctors can say that?

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"Stress Hunger"--The Cause Of Obesity

Most people never experience the healthy sensation of feeling hungry. In fact, most people desire to avoid feeling hungry. I think feeling hunger is good to experience periodically. Hunger is important to aid in our enjoyment of food and get the precise signals from our body to know the amount of calories we need to maintain our lean body mass. When we eat when we are hungry food tastes much better and we are physiologically primed for proper digestion. Hunger, in the true sense of the word, indicates to us that it is time to eat again.

Consider that real hunger is not often experienced in our modern, overfed population. Most people no longer even remember or are aware what hunger even feels like. Most people are surprised to find that true hunger is felt in the throat and not in the head or stomach.

Instead of true hunger, people get detoxification or withdrawal symptoms that they mistakenly consider hunger. They feel shaky, head-achy, weak, get abdominal cramps or spasms, which are believed to be hunger symptoms because they are relieved by eating. I call this "stress hunger." Stress hunger is the symptoms a person experiences that are due to toxic wastes being mobilized for elimination. It occurs after a meal is digested and the digestive track is empty, and it could make us feel very uncomfortable.

Generally, we eat to get rid of these withdrawal symptoms and it works. In fact, this is one of the most important contributors to our population's overweight condition. We eat the wrong foods and just a few hours later we feel ill, stressed out, shaky, weak, mentally dull, and we are driven to eat again to relieve the discomfort. Did you ever hear someone saying they needed to eat because they feel so shaky? The question is, are these symptoms "true hunger," "hypoglycemia" or something else? I claim that these symptoms occur simultaneous to our blood sugar decreasing but they are not caused "hypoglycemia." Rather, they result from tissue sensitivity to mobilization of waste products which occurs when most active digestion is finished.

Let me reassure you here that I do not want you to go hungry and deny yourself food to achieve an ideal weight. However, there is another answer. When we eat a nutrient-dense diet, rich with lots of colorful vegetables we will better meet the nutrient needs of our body and the better nutritional quality of the diet will reduce and eliminate the uncomfortable "withdrawal" symptoms. High nutrient eating enables us to deal better with all types of stress, but in this case I am claiming that eating more high-nutrient foods will enable us to avoid "stress hunger" and not have the cravings and drive to overeat.

When our diet is low in nutrients, we build up intra-cellular waste products. So when digestion stops, our body goes through a period of "cleaning," meaning that our tissues release toxic substances into circulation for removal. Our cells can harbor toxic products that build up in the body when our diet is relatively nutrient-poor. Phytonutrients are required for the body to properly detoxify metabolic waste products, they enable cellular detoxification machinery. When we don't eat sufficient phytochemical-rich-vegetation and consume excess animal proteins (creating excess nitrogenous wastes) we often exacerbate the build up of metabolic waste products in our body.

The confusion is compounded because when we eat the same heavy foods that are causing the problem to begin with, we feel so much better. This makes becoming overweight inevitable, because if we stop digesting food, even for a short time, our bodies will begin to experience symptoms of detoxification or withdrawal from our unhealthful diet. To counter this we eat heavy meals, eat too often and keep our digestive track overfed to lessen the discomfort from our stressful diet-style.

When our bodies have acclimated to noxious agents it is called addiction. Try to stop taking the heroin and we will feel ill. In fact, we must have it or we will become terribly sick. This is called withdrawal. When we stop doing something harmful to ourselves we feel ill as the body mobilizes cellular wastes and attempts to repair the damage caused by the exposure.

If we drank 3 cups of coffee or caffeinated soda a day, we would get a withdrawal headache when our caffeine level dipped too low. We could take more caffeine again (or other drugs) or we could eat food more frequently which can make us feel a little better as it retards detoxification or withdrawal. In other words, the caffeine withdrawal symptoms can contribute to our drinking more caffeine products or eating more frequently as a means of managing the symptoms from caffeine withdrawal.

Likewise, a few hours after eating the standard low-nutrient diet most people begin to feel "hungry". They feel weak, headachy, tired, mentally dull, and have stomach spasms. I call it "stress or toxic hunger" because these symptoms only occur in those who have been eating a toxic diet. True hunger would not have occurred so early after the meal.

True hunger signals when our body needs calories to maintain our lean body mass. If we ate food demanded by true hunger and true hunger only, people would not become overweight to begin with. In our present toxic food environment, we have lost the ability to connect with the body signals that tell us how much food we actually need. We have become slaves to withdrawal symptoms and eat all day long, even when there is no biological need for calories.

Fortunately, this cycle of eating, and then avoiding the symptoms of detoxification by eating again, does not have to continue. There is a way out. When you restore the nutritional integrity and relative cleanliness to your tissues, you simply will not have the desire to eat to get rid of the toxin-induced symptoms.

In an environment of healthy food choices, we would not feel any symptoms after a meal until the hormonal and neurological messengers indicated the glycogen reserves in the liver were running low. Nature has made it so that our body has the beautifully orchestrated ability to give us the precise signals to tell us exactly how much to eat to maintain an ideal weight for our long term health. This signal I call "true hunger" to differentiate it from the "stress hunger" or "toxic hunger" everyone else calls hunger.

Feeding ourselves to satisfy true hunger does not cause weight gain and if people were better connected with these normal signals it would be almost impossible for anyone to become overweight. True hunger is felt in the throat, neck and mouth, not in the stomach or head. It is a drawing sensation. It is not very uncomfortable to feel real hunger, it makes food taste much better when you eat, and it makes eating an intense pleasure.

True hunger requires no special food to satisfy it. It is relieved by eating almost anything. We can't crave some particular food and call it hunger; a craving by definition is an addictive drive, not something felt by a person who is not an addict. Remember almost all Americans are addicted to their toxic habits. A disease-causing diet is addicting. A health-supporting diet is not.

In order to achieve an ideal weight and consume the exact amount of calories to maintain a lean body mass we do not have to carry around a calculator and a scale to figure out how much to eat. A healthy body will give us the correct signals. So in order to achieve superior health, maximize our longevity potential, and achieve our ideal weight, we have to eat healthy enough to get back in touch with true hunger and rid ourselves of this "stress hunger".

Every cell is like a little factory, it makes products, produces waste and then must compact, detoxify and remove waste. If we don't ingest sufficient antioxidants and phytonutrients from our food choices, our cells are unable to effectively remove self-produced waste. If we let waste metabolites build up, the body will attempt to mobilize them (discomfort) when it can; but it only can do that effectively if not actively digesting food. Eating makes one feel better because it halts or delays the detoxification process.

My book, Eat To Live explains how eating for health is the most effective way to reach our ideal weight and stay there permanently when you get there. There are lots of ways to lose weight, but only by eating lots of nutrient-rich foods as a method of choice for weight loss will we not have to fight off cravings and ill feelings.

In a portion controlled (calorie counting) diet it is likely that the body will not get adequate fiber or nutrients. The body will have a compounded sensation of hunger and craving which for most is simply overwhelming. It invariably results in people losing weight then gaining back their weight. Calorie counting simply doesn't work in the long run. Diets based on portion control and calorie counting generally permit the eating of highly toxic, low nutrient foods and then requires us to fight our addictive drives and attempt to eat less. This combination under nourishes the body resulting in uncontrollable and frequent food cravings.

Without an adequate education in superior nutrition and solid principles to stick to; these individuals are forced to flounder and fail bouncing from one diet to another, always losing a little and regaining. Frequently regaining more than they lost.

We must prioritize our food intake around nutrient dense, high fiber, high water content foods, which means fruits, vegetables and beans. For superior health and our ideal weight we must have the knowledge to know how to seek nutritional excellence in spite of our misinformed and confused population.

This is all about knowledge, not willpower. With the right knowledge base, we can get more pleasure from eating, not be on some diet, and protect ourselves.

Stopping Childhood Obesity--Thinking Outside the Box

As a result of the childhood obesity epidemic different strategies have been enacted to promote good nutrition and exercise in children:

The New York Times reports that some Los Angeles parents are turning to gyms instead of playgrounds to help keep their kids fit and healthy.

Unless of course you live in West Virginia where certain kinds of video game play are encouraged. The Associated Press reports that West Virginia boasts the United States worst obesity problems, so school officials are having all 157 of the state's public schools outfitted with the physically challenging arcade game "Dance Dance Revolution." A move designed to promote physical activity.

Over the pond the European Union (EU) has decided it's better to remove things from schools. Reuters reports that UNESDA, which represents a large part of Europe's non-alcoholic beverage industry, is complying with the EU's drive against obesity and will remove refreshment vending machines from primary schools and drop advertising aimed at children under twelve.

Munch on Mushrooms

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:

Mushrooms make a great chewy replacement to meat. Exploring their varieties is a great way to add interesting flavors and texture to dishes. Store them in papers bags, not plastic, as too much moisture speeds spoilage. Try adding them to beans, seasoned with herbs and lemon juice. Even though they are a fungus, and not a real vegetable, mushrooms contain a variety of powerful phytochemicals and have been linked to decreased risk of chronic diseases, especially cancer.

Here's a spicy way to prepare mushrooms courtesy of OrganicAuthority.com:

Mushroom Salsa with Cilantro
1 large (4- to 5-inch diameter) portabella mushroom
2 ripe tomatoes
4 sprigs parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small onion, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, cored, seeded and minced

Remove the stem from the mushroom, then clean and chop the cap. Dice the tomatoes and combine in a medium-sized bowl with the mushroom. Stir in the parsley, cilantro, lime and lemon juices, onion and jalapeño pepper. Let stand at room temperature for at least an hour so that the flavors will blend. Stir well. Makes about 2 cups.

The Nutrition Facts Label to List Trans Fat: From Bad to Worse

Written by Dr. Fuhrman's colleague Dr. Steven Acocella, MS, D.C., DACBN, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist, American College of Lifestyle Physicians, and a Diplomat of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition.

As of January 1, 2006 a new law requires food manufacturers to list the amount of trans fat contained in their products. This is the first major addendum to the Nutrition Facts packaging label since its inception in 1993. Although the manufacturing process of trans fat was originally discovered over a hundred years ago its large-scale use by the food industry began in the late 1970's and early 1980's. During that time an alarming body of scientific evidence emerged directly linking saturated fats, like lard, tropical oils and butter to vascular disease, heart attack and stroke. The food industry scrambled to offer a healthier alternative to the vilified saturated fats and embraced trans fats as the answer. Many of us remember the 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' ad-campaign. In addition to the marketing boom touting the healthier trans fat containing products the food industry enjoyed further economic benefits from the greatly enhanced shelf life of foods made with solid trans fats (just look at the expiration date on a Twinkie); this fostered even more extensive use of hydrogenated oils. But the benefits of this bit of food magic would be short lived.

Although very small amounts exist in nature, trans fat is almost exclusively a product of the laboratory. Through a process called hydrogenation, less health-offensive fats like those in vegetable oils are exposed to high pressure and temperature and bombarded with hydrogen gas. This processing changes the chemical structure transforming the oil into a waxy, gooey solid. But science leaped too quickly from the laboratory to our kitchen when it starting serving up this gunk. Research in the early 1990's uncovered that trans fat not only raises LDL (bad) cholesterol in the same way as saturated fat, it also lowers HDL (good) cholesterol. Furthermore, emerging science has shown that the altered chemical structure allows our bodies to more easily oxidize trans fat, an important step in the formation of artery clogging plaques. One example of the serious negative health effects of trans fats in our diets comes from the Walter Willett Nurses Study (Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School). The study of 80,000 women concluded that a mere 2% increase in dietary trans fat consumption increases a woman's risk of heart disease by 93%. Recently the FDA Food Advisory Committee voted in favor of recommending that trans fat intake be reduced to less than 1% of total caloric energy. This amounts to less than 1.5 g per day for a standard 1500 calorie diet.

Trans fat is lurking everywhere. It is extensively used in baked goods like crackers, cookies, pastries and cakes and in fried foods like French-fries, breaded fish, chicken and shrimp. Snack foods such as popcorn, chips and chocolate are loaded with trans fat as are sauces and condiments. Trans fat turns even some brands of healthy foods like tomato sauce and vegetable soup into artery clogging goop. And the next time you proudly go for that healthy salad take a closer look at that white sludge you're about to smother it in. Most salad dressings are loaded with trans fat. And don't forget that trans fat is commonly used in the food service industry and restaurants don't list the nutritional facts for the foods they serve.

It's very important to note that the new Nutritional Facts label law has a major loophole in it. Food manufacturers were able to preserve language in the rules that allows them to advertise and label their products as "trans fat free" if there is "an amount less than or equal to .5 grams of trans fat per serving". This is called the non-reportable amount. The key here is 'per serving'. Very often a serving size (an amount which is subjectively determined by the manufacture) is a much smaller portion then we realistically consume. For example, a popular 'trans fat free' golden cracker snack lists the per serving size of their product at "about 5 crackers". After the new law went into effect this particular manufacturer simply reduced their serving size to stay within the trans fat reporting threshold. There is actually .5 grams of trans fat in one serving. They just worked backwards and based their serving size on .5 grams of trans fat. The problem is that if you're like most of us, when you open that box and kick back with Jay Leno for some late night TV you're going for at least 3 to 5 servings. You'll be consuming an average of 2 grams (in excess of the FDA recommendation) of trans fat from a single snack that has a legal Nutrition Facts Label that clearly states - '0 Trans Fat'. What planet is this?

The new label law is confusing and misleading. Many American's will consume what they believe are healthier products because they are advertised as 'trans fat free'. But many of these products are loaded with equally unhealthy saturated fat or may have less than the reportable amount of trans fat per serving. The disease producing and aging effect of both trans fat and saturated fat is as clear as the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Why try to calculate which one is the lesser of two dietary evils?

While the white coat geniuses at Kraft are back at the drawing board working hard on their next big chemical break though (like their last great invention, Olestra with its 'anal leakage' warning) I leave you with this simple solution to this dietary dilemma. The more calories you consume from natural foods the less you'll need to be concerned about processed food additives. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans do not contain a list of unhealthy ingredients. And the last time I checked nature didn't need a nutrition label loophole.

Dr. Mehmet Oz's New TV Show

Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. will cohost a new show with Michael Roizenon, M.D. on the Discovery Health Channel called "You: The Owner's Manual." The one-hour special, which premieres 8 p.m. Wednesday (EST/PST), is based on their best-selling book of the same name.

Dr. Oz also wrote the foreword to Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live. Here's some of what he said:

Dr. Fuhrman is doctor as teacher; he makes applying nutritional science to our own lives easy to learn, compelling, practical, and fun. His own common sense and his scientifically supported solutions to many diet-induced ailments will enable readers to achieve unexpected degrees of wellness quickly and easily. He reminds us that not all fats or carbohydrates are good or bad and that animal products catalyze many detrimental effects to our health. He pushes us to avoid processed foods and to seek rick nutrients and phytochemicals available in fresh foods. Finally, he offers a meal plan that is tasty and easy to follow. However, make no mistake, the information you will find in Eat to Live will challenge you; the scientific evidence he cites will make it harder for you to ignore the long-term impact of the typical American diet. Indeed, it is a wake-up call for all of us to make significant changes in your lives. Now is the time put this information into action to bring optimal health to all Americans. Go for it.

Asparagus: Real Health Food

Asparagus is one of the most healthful foods on the planet. It leads nearly all fruits and vegetables in the wide array of nutrients it supplies. Ten ounces (one box of frozen spears) have only 68 calories and 9 grams of protein, yet it is like a vitamin pill, giving you a variety of minerals such as selenium, zinc, calcium, copper, and manganese. Plus, it is very rich in folate.

Asparagus has an exceptionally high nutrient-per-calorie ratio and is the perfect weight-loss food. Anti--cancer compounds that have been shown to prevent tumors and cancers in animals are plentiful in asparagus. Asparagus also contains isothiocyanates, indoles, and sulforaphane, powerful compounds that promote cellular rejuvenation with anti-cancer properties. It is rich in glutathione and rutin, healing compounds for the liver and blood vessels.

The asparagus plant is a hardy perennial vegetable native to Europe and Asia, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. It was a valued vegetable to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. In ancient Greece, the wealthy paid chariot drivers to bring frozen asparagus (stored from the bumper summer crop) from the snow-covered Alps back to Greece when fresh asparagus was not available. Early settlers brought asparagus to North America, where it has been grown since colonial times.

In the past, asparagus was only available in season. Today, modern growing, shipping, and refrigeration methods have made asparagus available year-round. The size of the asparagus does not matter. It becomes soft, cooking easily with just 10 minutes or less in the steamer, and retains most of its vital nutrients when cooked.

Asparagus has a short shelf life once it is picked, which is great because it is easy to tell if it is not fresh and losing its nutrient-rich status. If the rubber band indents the spears, it is not fresh, and if the tips start to become odorous or look wet or slimy, you know it has become bad.

If you plant an asparagus crown in your garden and allow it to develop a strong root system for three years, it will then produce plants every summer for 15 years or more without replanting.

Try these asparagus inspired recipes:

Asparagus-Potato-Leek Ragout
2 large leeks, white and pale green
1 lb. small red potatoes
2 cups water, seasoned with VegiZest or another dehydrated vegetable seasoning
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally
1/2 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped

Cut leeks lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Then cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Quarter potatoes and steam in a steamer until just tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a bowl. In skillet, water-sauté leeks in seasoned water for 3-4 minutes, stirring until tender. (Add liquid if needed.) Transfer leeks to bowl with potatoes. In skillet, heat more VegiZest water and water-sauté asparagus for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add mushrooms and water-sauté mixture, and continue cooking for about 3 minutes or until mushrooms soften. Combine all ingredients. Before serving, squeeze a little lemon juice over vegetables, stir in mint, parsley, and pepper to taste, and gently toss. Serves 4.

Creamy Asparagus Soup
3 lbs. asparagus
4 tsp. VegiZest soup mix
4-1/2 cups water
2 medium onions, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 cup raw cashews
White pepper, to taste
No-Sodium Spike

Cut off the tough base of the asparagus and discard. Cut off two inches of the asparagus tips and stew on a low heat in one cup of water for about 3 minutes and save with liquid. In a 4-quart heavy saucepan, add onions, remaining asparagus stalks, garlic, onion, seasonings, water, and the liquid from the asparagus tips. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until asparagus pieces are tender. Purée soup in blender. In final batch, puree cashews as well. Return to 4-quart saucepan, thin with water if desired. Add asparagus tips and serve. Serves 7.

Early Exposure to Pesticide: Revisited

Last month DiseaseProof.com examined whether or not consuming organic food is safer than eating standard produce that may contain pesticide residue. In Disease Proof Your Child Dr. Fuhrman explains this only represents a negligible risk and that the real concern should be with early exposure to chemical cleaners, insecticides, weed killers, and compounds used in pressure-treated wood. These materials can cause a myriad of health problems including cancers such as leukemia.

Recently FoodConsumer.org published an article written by David Liu Ph.D. supporting the claim that household insecticides are linked to childhood leukemia. Dr. Liu cites a new French study:

In the case-control study, Florence Menegaux, Ph.D. of INSERM (France's national institute for medical research) and colleagues compared the cases with 288 matched controls that did not have diagnosed cancer.

The mothers in both groups were interviewed for exposure to insecticides during pregnancy and early years of their children. Their socioeconomic status, education, family medical history, and their child's pre and postnatal characteristics were surveyed. The hazard risk factors included gardening chemicals, fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides, among others…

…Exposure to insecticides in the garden during childhood was also linked with a nearly doubled risk of acute leukemia. Considering exposure to gardening insecticides both in childhood and during pregnancy, the risk was 20 percent higher than controls.

Exposure to bug spray at home during pregnancy and childhood was associated with a doubled risk of acute leukemia.

Exposure to both garden insecticide and fungicide during childhood was also associated with a more than doubled risk.

The toxins associated with conventional produce are hardly the only ones worth limiting. (More on that from the previous post about organic food.) In his book Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman explains why residue on produce shouldn't be your chief concern:

The effects of ingesting pesticides in the very small amounts present in vegetation are unknown. Bruce Ames, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center at the University of California at Berkeley, who has devoted his career to examining this question, believes these minute amounts pose no risk at all.

He and other scientists support this view because humans and other animals are exposed to small amounts of naturally occurring toxins with every mouthful of organically grown, natural food. The body normally breaks down self-produced metabolic wastes and naturally occurring carcinogens in foods, as well as pesticides, and excretes these harmful substances every minute. Since 99.99 percent of the potential carcinogenic chemicals consumed are naturally present in all food, reducing our exposure to the 0.01 percent that are synthetic will not reduce cancer rates.

These scientists argue that humans ingest thousands of natural chemicals that typically have a greater toxicity and are present at higher doses than the very minute amount of pesticide residue that remains on food. Furthermore, animal studies on the carcinogenic potential in synthetic chemicals are done at doses a thousand-fold higher than what is ingested in food. Ames argues that a high percentage of all chemicals, natural or not, are potentially toxic in high doses—"the dose makes the poison"—and that there is no evidence of possible cancer hazards from the tiny chemical residue remaining on produce.

Soups On!

The winter chill can be bitter, here are some soothing soups to help sweeten your day:

Creamy Peanut Butter Soup
1 bunch kale (de-stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces)
1 medium butternut squash (can use frozen)
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup lentils
1 medium beet, shredded
6 cups carrot juice
1 small zucchini (cut into chunks)
1/2 cup raw cashews
12 whole pitted dates
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups soymilk
1 tsp. natural peanut butter
4 oz. Spinach

Simmer first seven ingredients, adding water if needed, for 45 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy. Adjust sweetness by adding more dates if needed. Add enough soymilk to thin to appropriate consistency.

Black Forest Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 cups mushrooms, 1/4 slices
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 qt. water
4 Tbsp. Dr. Fuhrman's VegiZest, or other no- or low-sodium soup base
2 whole carrots, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. dried herbs, herb de Provence
3 whole leeks, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup raw cashews
10 oz. spinach leaves
5 oz. bag of organic baby spinach
1/4 cup fresh chopped herbs, parsley, rosemary, & thyme

Water sauté garlic, mushrooms, and herbs until tender and fragrant. Set aside. Place carrots and leeks in water and soup base. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Puree vegetable soup in blender with cashews, lemon juice, and herbs. In soup pot, combine pureed vegetable soup, mushrooms, and spinach. Spinach will wilt in hot soup. Serve garnished with fresh chopped herbs.

Greek Lentil Soup
2 cups dried lentils
28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
2 Tbsp. fig vinegar
2 cups currants
2 stalks leeks, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1/8 tsp. cumin
3 Tbsp. minced parsley
1 tsp. ground coriander
8 cups water

Combine all ingredients in large soup pot and cook on a low flame about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until lentils are soft.

Creamy Asparagus Soup
3 lbs. asparagus
4 tsp. VegiZest soup mix
4-1/2 cups water
2 medium onions, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/2 cup raw cashews
White pepper, to taste
No-Sodium Spike

Cut off the tough base of the asparagus and discard. Cut off two inches of the asparagus tips and stew on a low heat in one cup of water for about 3 minutes and save with liquid. In a 4-quart heavy saucepan, add onions, remaining asparagus stalks, garlic, onion, seasonings, water, and the liquid from the asparagus tips. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until asparagus pieces are tender. Purée soup in blender. In final batch, puree cashews as well. Return to 4-quart saucepan, thin with water if desired. Add asparagus tips and serve.

Don't sabotage your weight-loss goal with oily dressings and sauces.

Vegetables and salads are very low in calories. However, if you cover these healthy, low calorie foods with tablespoons of a high-fat, high-calorie, oil-based dressing, you turn vegetables and salad into weight-promoting foods. (Remember Dr. Fuhrman's equation health = nutrition / calories.)

Here's what Dr. Fuhrman says about this in the upcoming revised version of Cholesterol Protection for Life:

I know you were told that olive oil is health food. It is not. Keep in mind, oil is processed food, it is not a natural whole food. Oils, even if they are monounsaturated, should not be health food because they are low in nutrients and contain 120 calories per tablespoon, promoting weight gain.

Sure, olive oil and almond oil are improvements over animal fats and margarine, but they still are a contributor to our overweight modern world. Overweight Americans consume and average of three tablespoons of oil in their daily diet, adding and extra 360 calories to their food each day. You need to reach a thinner, ideal weight to achieve maximum protection against heart disease and to reverse heart disease. Use oil, even olive oil sparingly or not at all; certainly, do not have more than one teaspoon per day.

As an alternative to oil, you can make great tasting salad dressings from raw nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios and avocados.

Here are a few recipes to experiment with:

Hot Russian Dressing
1 small (4-ounce) can tomato paste
4 tbsp. raw almond butter
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup soy milk
3 tbsp. ketchup
Blend all ingredients together. Works well as a sauce for steamed leafy greans; as a condiment spread for lettuce, tomato, and avocado pita pocket sandwiches; and as a salad dressing (serves 4-6).

Orange Cashew Dressing
2 peeled navel oranges
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 tbsp. of blood orange vinegar or pear vinegar
Blend ingredients until silkly smooth. Use liberally on salad or as vegetable dip (serves 4-6).

Pistachio Mustard Salad Dressing
1/3 cup raw shelled pistachio nuts
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tbsp. Vegi-Zest or low salt vegetable seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
Blend all ingredients until smooth in a high powered blender (serves 4-6).

U.S. Cities Weigh in on Bad Diets and Obesity

Earlier this month DiseaseProof.com spotlighted The New York Times coverage of how NYC is facing increased diabetes, but New York isn't the only city concerned with expanding waistlines. Consider these other recent reports from around the nation:

But My Cholesterol is Fine

Written by Dr. Fuhrman's colleague Dr. Steven Acocella, MS, D.C., DACBN, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist, and a Diplomat of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition.

Excess weight, especially in middle age dramatically increases the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and other morbid conditions even in the absence of more established indicators of risk such as smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) concludes that excess weight itself puts people at greater risk for significant health problems. This massive study followed over 17,000 men and women ages 31 to 64 over an average of 32 years. Each participant was assigned to one of 5 groups based upon risk factors independent of weight that included past or present tobacco use, elevated blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. The low-risk group never smoked and had normal cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The moderate-risk group didn't smoke but had either slight elevations in cholesterol or blood pressure. The intermediate-risk group had either high cholesterol, high blood pressure or currently smoked. The elevated-risk group and high-risk group had any 2 or all 3 three of these risk factors, respectively. The results were alarming.

The incidence of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attacks and diabetes were observed as well as hospitalizations and deaths related to these conditions. The body mass index (height to weight ratio) was calculated for each participant and compared health status to BMI for each group. The study evidenced that individuals with no cardiovascular risk factors as well as for those with 1 or more risk factors who were overweight in middle age had a significantly higher risk of hospitalization and mortality from heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes than those who were of normal weight. In fact, the risk of death from heart disease was an ominous 43 percent higher within the low-risk group (no risk factors) for overweight and obese individuals as compared to those of normal weight.

I often hear overweight people proudly stating that their cholesterol numbers and blood pressure readings are normal intimating that in some way their weight is less of a problem. I have literally had patients say that although they know they're overweight it's "OK" because their cholesterol is fine. Not fine. This perception may grant some overweight people a false sense of security when it comes to their health. This fool's paradise is often fostered by the barrage of drug commercials, other media messages and even uninformed health professionals that overemphasize some risk factors while understating the importance of attaining a healthy weight, especially in middle age.

This important study clearly demonstrates that just because those lab results are great, excess weight alone puts you at almost double the risk for an untimely death.

Nutrient Density of Green Vegetables

It is not merely consuming too much fat that causes diseases. It is not merely eating empty-calorie foods or the high consumption of animal foods, such as milk, cheese, butter, meat, and chicken that causes premature deaths in America. It is also what we are missing in our diets by not eating enough plant foods. Why are plant foods so protective and essential for human health?

Let's compare the nutrient density of meat to the nutrient density of green vegetables to illustrate this important point.

Nutrients present in 100-calorie portions
BroccoliSirloin SteakRomaine LettuceKale
Protein11.2 gm5.4 gm7.5 gm11 gm
Calcium322 mg2.4 mg374 mg470 mg
Iron3.5 mg.7 mg7.7 mg5.8 mg
Magnesium74.5 mg5 mg60.5 mg97 mg
Fiber4.7 g04 g3.4 g
PhytochemicalsVery High0Very HighVery High
AntioxidantsVery High0Very HighVery High
Folate257 mcg3 mcg969 mcg60 mcg
B2.71 mg.04 mg.45 mg.32 mg
Niacin2.8 mg1.1 mg2.2 mg2.1 mg
Zinc1.04 mg1.2 mg1.2 mg gm.55 mg
Vitamin C350 mg0100 mg329 mg
Vitamin A7750 IU24 IU10,450 IU23,407 IU
Vitamin E26 IU032 IU34 IU
Cholesterol05.5 mg00
Weight307 gm24 gm550 gm266 gm
(10.6 oz)(.84 oz)(19 oz)(9.2 oz)

This table is from the forthcoming revised version of Dr. Fuhrman's book Cholesterol Protection for Life.

From the Archives: The Economist Reviews Eat to Live

On April 5, 2003, The Economist reviewed Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live. Here's an excerpt of the review:

The pitfall of most diets, Dr Fuhrman argues, is that they tend to regulate macronutrients--proteins, fats and carbohydrates. The focus of "Eat to Live" is on micronutrients--vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that promote health. The goal of a healthy diet, he says, is to get the most micronutrients from the fewest calories.

Dr Fuhrman suggests almost eliminating fats and starches in favour of greens, beans and fruit. His regime even works if you don't do a lot of exercise. This reviewer, who has become something of an expert on diets over the years, lost ten pounds (4.5 kilos) in one month; the norm, Dr Fuhrman claims, is 15. Empty calories from soft drinks, dairy products, meat and starches or processed foods with little to no micronutrition are easily converted to fat and extra poundage. So-called "2 percent" milk claims to be a diet food, but 35% of its calories come from fat. On the other hand, green vegetables are an excellent source of protein as well as antioxidants that reduce risk of cancer and heart disease. By weight, the amount of protein they contain is insignificant, but in terms of calories broccoli is 45% protein, while a cheeseburger contains only 21%.

Sit up, George Bush senior, scourge of broccoli. Without the protein in greens, how else could your Texan cattle develop all that tasty muscle?

Dr. Fuhrman: Drugs Won't Solve Obesity Epidemic

Stephanie Saul of The New York Times reports that two new approaches to the nation's obesity epidemic are coming up for review by the Food and Drug Administration. Sanofi-Aventis will launch a prescription appetite blocker called Acomplia and GlaxoSmithKline is proposing an over-the-counter version of the weight loss drug Xenical, which will be renamed Alli. As Saul reports, overweight individuals are excited about the drugs despite the health risks of previous weight loss medications:

"I think if we could get obesity treatments to a situation like cholesterol where there are several different products, where one or two in combination might be successful, at least that would arm physicians with more than they have now," said Morgan Downey, executive director of the American Obesity Association, a patients' advocacy group in Washington.

The Food and Drug Administration has scheduled an advisory panel hearing for Jan. 23 to review Alli. And the F.D.A. could make its decision on Acomplia as soon as next month.

Both drug companies are seeking approval in a difficult regulatory environment, as the F.D.A. is moving cautiously in the wake of the Vioxx debacle. Any diet drug is up against a backdrop of safety issues from the past - most notably problems with the diet drug combination fen-phen. Fenfluramine, the "fen" half of the combination, was withdrawn from the market in 1997 after it was found to cause heart damage.

Xenical has shown itself to be moderately effective and has a long safety record. But Alli - a name the company has proposed because the drug must be allied with a weight-loss program - faces the higher hurdle required when prescription drugs are proposed for sale without a doctor's oversight. "You have to not only provide data that shows it's safe, you have to show that it's safe when it's misused," said Gerald Meyer, a former F.D.A. associate commissioner.

Can't wait for the FDA to rule? Consider this excerpt taken from Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:
New drugs are continually introduced that attempt to lessen the effects our nation's self-destructive eating behavior. Most often, our society treats disease after the degenerative illness has appeared, an illness that is the result of from forty to sixty years of nutritional self-abuse.

Drug companies and researchers attempt to develop and market medications to stem the obesity epidemic. This approach will always be doomed to fail. The body will always pay a price for consuming medicines, which usually have toxic effects. The "side" effects are not the only toxic effect of medications. Doctors learn in their introductory pharmacology course in medical school that all medications are toxic in varying degrees, whether side effects are experienced or not. Pharmacology professors stress never to forget that. You cannot escape the immutable biological laws of cause and effect through ingesting medicinal substances.

If we don't make significant changes in the foods we choose to consumer, taking drugs prescribed by physicians will not improve our health or extend our lives. If we wish true health protection, we need to remove the cause. We must stop abusing ourselves with disease-causing foods.

Renee Puts a Headlock on Her Headaches

To follow up the migraine talk of yesterday, here's a success story from high school freshman Renee who conquered her chronic migraines with nutritional excellence.

When I first met Dr. Fuhrman in the end of April, let's just say I was skeptical. After seeing six neurologists and countless other doctors, I wasn't very optimistic. You see my life was turned upside down three and a half years ago.

March of 2001 I started to experience migraines that became so severe I was admitted to the hospital that August for a treatment. By that time, I had already seen many doctors and had been put on more medications than I could count.

That whole August I was unable to get a restful sleep. I was tired all the time and had a single migraine for five months straight.

I was re-admitted into the hospital the next March, that following September, and then that January with the treatment helping less and less each time. All of this caused me to miss out on most of my middle school years because I had to be tutored while in bed with my illness.

I then saw a chiropractor who thought I should go see Dr. Fuhrman. I was very skeptical when Dr. Fuhrman told me I would start to see improvements in my illness within a few months if I followed his nutritional advice. That month wasn't pretty as it included some of the worst migraines I had experienced, but as the month came to an end I started to feel a whole lot better. As the months went on I was able to attend summer camp this past summer and have spent more time with my friends then I had in years.

Today I take no medication and attend private high school as a freshman and have only missed two days because of migraines, which is amazing. Although my migraines occasionally return if I veer too much from Dr. Fuhrman's nutritional advice, I have learned that being sick is not just bad luck. I've had excellent health results from nutritional excellence.

Battling Migraine Headaches with Diet

Dr. Fuhrman has had strong results treating migraine headaches with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds as described in his books. Recently, some particularly tough cases were discussed in the member center of his website. Read the results for yourself:

Question (Posted on the forums 11/2/05)
Hi Dr. Fuhrman,

I've been following Eat to Live for 10 months now with great results. I was off blood pressure medication within six weeks (after having been on it for 10 years), and I've lost 20 pounds (I now weigh what I did when I was 22). At age 47, I feel more athletic and healthier than I have since I was in my mid twenties.

My final area of health struggle is migraine headaches. I've had them since high school. When I was on BP medication, the beta blockers largely suppressed the migraines. If they didn't, I would take aspirin to knock them out, or if they got really bad, I would use Imitrex. Since coming off the BP medication in February, my migraines have returned. I have followed your advice and have quit all medications. I have "gutted it out" through a lot of migraines in the past 10 months.

I have twice gone on your "headache diet" with limited results (I did a three day, and five day fast before going on the headache diet). My frequency of headaches has not diminished at all (about once a week). The duration time of the headaches seems to be lessening. However, it often seems like a small consolation. After reading your book on "Fasting and Eating for Health", I was hoping my headaches would go away quickly.

I work in corporate sales, and I cannot continue to be sidelined by migraines. Fortunately, I often work from a home office. So, I can apply pressure and ice treatment that I couldn't do in an office, but I have to figure out a way to get rid of these things.

I hope you are right about migraines, but I haven't seen anywhere near the results that I expected after such great results with BP and weight loss. Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks for all your help so far. If your diet gets me through migraines, I'll be your #1 evangelist! Doug (a.k.a. doubled on Dr. Fuhrman's forums)

Answer
I promise you that I can get rid of your migraines now, because you have improved your health so much already and have been following the plan and are off meds. The last piece of the puzzle for you is to increase the detoxification potential by using cruciferous juices and blended salads to increase the intake of raw cruciferous compounds from watercress, brocolli, arugula, parsley, bok choy, and others. Have the green stuff in a base of carrots sometimes and tomatoes at other times. Have the raw baby bok choy, the raw broccoli, and shredded cabbage every day and then have fresh squeezed juice twice a day. Call me for a phone consult if you need me to review the whole menu with you.

Reply
I started juicing the cruciferous veggies on November 30th, and haven't had a hint of a headache in 17 days. I used to get them roughly once per week. So, the plan is working! I am thrilled.

I didn't realize until today what a "blended" salad was. I haven't been blending my salads, just eating a ton of raw salad. I'll need to try that next.
Thanks again.
Doug

Question(Posted on the forums 1/16/2005)
After following the E2L diet for a year, my niece (a.k.a. nutmeg on Dr. Fuhrman's forums) is still experiencing severe migraines and nausea in conjunction with her periods. She has read your book and your article on banishing headaches and migraines. She experiences these headaches and severe nausea ONLY during her periods. Headaches strike on the 2nd day of her period along with severe cramps. Both headaches and cramps last for 3 to 4 days every month and have been that way since she was a teenager. She's in her 40's now. She does take Advil for the cramps, but she says it doesn't touch the headaches. The only time in her life that she has been without the headaches at this time was a couple of years ago when she was on xanax, but she doesn't want to take drugs again. Do you have any further advice?
Donna

Answer
I find this hard to believe because it is exceedingly rare that headaches are not banished after so much time eating so healthfully. She might want to call me for a phone consultation so that I can help her uncover a potential factor which she is overlooking. Is she still overweight? Sleeping enough? Consuming any salt? Under psychological stress?

Reply by nutmeg
I did a one day fast, the E2L diet perfectly, and NO SALT whatsoever:

I made it through the week without a headache! The diet and mostly the NO SALT rule must have done the trick. Now, I'll duplicate it for the next few months to be sure! What a relief it is not to have that hang over feeling from the headache that always lasted a few days too, feeling crappy and out of it. I've never had a week this good for a "time of the month" ever, ever, ever!

Follow-Up by nutmeg 10/12/05
I wanted to follow up on this... it has now been 9 months and NO monthly migraines! The "no salt" rule followed very carefully has truly done the trick, and I couldn't be more pleased.
Thank you again Dr. Fuhrman, and anyone else reading this who has the same problem. Please, get all added salt out of your diet!

Senior Journal: Certain Foods May Save Men from Prostate Cancer

The Senior Journal has an article about the important role certain foods can play in the fight against prostate cancer. The article highlights broccoli and turmeric, but those two foods are merely the tip of the anti-cancer iceberg.

To understand better the effects of diet on cancer in general from Dr. Fuhrman's perspective, read this blog post about diet and cancer. And read this example of how one of Dr. Fuhrman's patients addressed his prostate cancer scare.

Checking in With Harlem's Promise Academy

A few months ago we blogged about Harlem's Promise Academy, a rare public school where nutritious school lunches are the rule.

The Associated Press recently checked in with the school with no fried foods or desserts, and found reason for optimism:

Sixth-grader Falilou Barry wouldn't eat red cabbage the last time it was served because "it looked purple." But next time, he said, "I'm hoping to taste it."

Tiffany Vargas, a seventh-grader, said she has learned to like foods including zucchini, vegetable lasagna and, yes, cabbage.

"There's a lot of things you don't like," she said, "but it's better to try than to just say forget about it."

Study: Certain Diabetes Drugs Tied to Mortality

Jeff Minerd of MedPageToday writes about a study from the Jan. 17 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal that examined diabetic drugs Daibinese (chlorpropamine) and Orinase (tulbutomide).

Patients were placed into three groups. There were 120 who received a first-generation sulfonylurea, either Daibinese (chlorpropamine) or Orinase. A second group included 4,138 who received Diabeta (glyburide), and the third group included 1,537 who received the non-sulfonylurea drug metformin, which improves insulin sensitivity.

Each of these groups was further divided into a high-dose or low-dose group, with the median daily dose serving as the dividing line.

Participants were followed until death or termination of Saskatchewan Health coverage. Average follow up was about five years. The main outcomes were all-cause mortality and death from an acute ischemic event.

There were 1,503 deaths during the study period, of which 372 (about 25%) were attributable to an acute ischemic event. First-generation sulfonylurea users had the highest mortality (67.6 deaths per 1,000 person-years), compared with Diabeta users (61.4 deaths per 1,000 person-years) and metformin users (39.6 deaths per 1,000 person-years).

Compared with the low-dose patients, a greater risk of death was found in the high-dose patients receiving first-generation sulfonylureas (adjusted hazard ratio=2.1; 95% confidence interval=1.0-4.7) and Diabeta (HR=1.3; 95% CI= 1.2-1.4), but not metformin (HR=0.8; 95% CI=0.7-1.1).

The study also found an increased risk of death from ischemic event in the high-dose patients receiving first-generation sulfonylureas, though it was not statistically significant (HR=1.21; 95% CI=0.10-3.75). A significant association was found for Diabeta (HR=1.37; 95% CI=1.25-1.50). A slight and non-significant association was found for metformin (HR=1.10; 95% CI=0.75-1.30).

Study: Healthy, Restricted Calorie Diet Helps to Prevent Heart Disease and Cancer

The next issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology will include research comparing 25 members of the Calorie Restriction Society (aged 41 to 64)--who consume 1,400 to 2,000 nutrient-rich calories per day--with the same number of people who eat a typical Western diet of 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day.

They found that those on the restricted diet had significantly healthier hearts. Jim Salter describes it this way in an Associated Press article about the study:

"This is the first study to demonstrate that long-term calorie restriction with optimal nutrition has cardiac-specific effects that (delay or reverse) age-associated declines in heart function," said Luigi Fontana, lead author and assistant professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis.

The study will be published Tuesday in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Fontana said simply consuming less food is not the answer. Members of the study group eat food resembling a traditional Mediterranean diet, focusing on vegetables, olive oil, beans, whole grains, fish and fruit. They avoid refined and processed foods, soft drinks, desserts, white bread and other sources of "empty" calories.

For the general public, the researchers recommend a moderate reduction in calories, combined with moderate, regular exercise.

Research on mice and rats indicated that life span can be stretched by about 30 percent with stringent and consistent caloric restriction. That research also suggested that restricting calories can help prevent cancer.

Heart attacks and strokes cause about 40 percent of deaths in Western countries, researchers said. Cancer causes another 30 percent. Fontana said those deaths are attributable to "secondary aging" from high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure and other often-preventable conditions.

While it has long been known that a healthy diet and exercise can reduce risks, the study suggests that caloric restriction combined with optimal nutrition can do even more.

Vegetarian Diets are Not All Created Equal: An Example

From Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live:

A patient came in for his yearly checkup. He was not overweight and had been following a vegetarian diet for years. I did a dietary review of what he ate regulary. He was eating "healthy" flaxseed waffles for breakfast, lots of pasta, whole-wheat bread, and vegan (no animal products) prepared frozen meals on a regular basis.

I spent about thirty minutes pointing out that he was certainly not following my dietary recommendations for excellent health and presented him with some menu suggestions and an outline of my nutritional prescription for superior health, which he agreed to follow.

Twelve weeks later, he had lost about eight pounds and I rechecked his lipid profile, because I didn't like the results we received from the blood test taken the day of his checkup.

The results speak for themselves:

2/1/2001

Cholesterol 230
Triglycerides 226
HDL 55
LDL 130
Cholesterol/HDL Ratio 4.18

5/2/2001

Cholesterol 174
Triglycerides 57
HDL 78
LDL 84
Cholesterol/HDL Ratio 2.23

Asian-American Diabetes Trends Point to Diet

According to New York Times reporter Marc Santora the current diabetes epidemic is hitting the city's Asian population like a tsunami. The article warns that immigrants abandoning their traditional diets for typical American foods are at extremely high risk of developing diabetes. Santora explains:

Asians, especially those from Far Eastern nations like China, Korea and Japan, are acutely susceptible to Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease and the subject of this series. They develop it at far lower weights than people of other races, studies show; at any weight, they are 60 percent more likely to get the disease than whites.

And that peril is compounded by recent immigrants' sudden collision with American culture. Many of them left places where factory and fieldwork was strenuous, televisions were rare and advertising was limited. They may speak little English and have poor access to medical care.

Many have never even heard of diabetes, much less the recent scientific studies showing that a Western diet, high in fat and sugar, puts them in danger of getting Type 2 diabetes, which has been linked to obesity and inactivity, as well as to heredity. (Type 1, which comprises only 5 percent to 10 percent of cases, is not associated with behavior, and is believed to stem almost entirely from genetic factors.)

Many recent Chinese immigrants have come from places where food was scarce, and experts say some view fat as a trophy of wealth and status. Their children try to fit into their new country by embracing its foods and its sedentary pastimes.

In Asia diabetes is so rare that many people have never heard of it, yet as the Times reports, we now know that many Asians have the genes to be highly susceptible to the disease. Of course, genes don't change much when people move to a new country, but diets certainly do.

In his book Eat to Live Dr. Fuhrman offers some insight in to why some Asians are facing severe shocks to their health when switching to the typical American diet:

The Chinese [living in China], who on the average consume more calories, are thinner than Americans.1 In China the calorie intake per kilogram of body weight is 30 percent higher than in the United States. The Chinese eat about 270 more calories per day than Americans, yet they are invariably thin. Exercise cannot fully explain this difference, as researchers discovered the same thing with Chinese office workers as well.

This may be because calories from carbohydrates are not as likely to increase body fat as the same number of calories from high-fat foods such as oils and meats, which make up such a high proportion of the American diet. The data suggests that when a very low fat diet is consumed (15 percent average dietary fat in rural China), as compared to the typical Western diet (30-45 percent of calories from fat), more calories are burned to convert carbohydrate in fat, so the body cannot store fat easily.

The modern American diet receives about 37 percent of its calories from fat, with lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates. The combination of high fat and high sugar is a metabolic disaster that causes weight gain, independent of the number of calories.

Continue Reading...

Take the National Health Test

The National Health Test is a one-hour television event, hosted by Bryant Gumbel. The program focuses on: How healthy are you? How healthy is America? How do we measure up to other countries? And what's at stake?

Recently Dr. Fuhrman was interviewed for the show. He is joined by experts such as Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, Editor of Men's Health David Zinczenko, Julian Whitaker M.D., Senator John Kerry, etc. Celebrities such as Jean Smart, Marilu Henner, Bruce Jenner, and Dwight Freeney are also on hand to offer their own personal health tips and encouragement.

It's playing on different days across the country. Check for show times in your area.

Vegetarian or Semi-Vegetarian: Which is Better?

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming, newly revised version of Dr. Fuhrman's book Cholesterol Protection for Life.

Is a vegetarian diet healthier than a diet that contains a small amount of animal products?

We do not know for sure. The preponderance of evidence suggests that either a near-vegetarian diet or a vegetarian diet is the best, especially for patients with heart disease. In the massive China-Oxford-Cornell Project, reduction in heart disease and cancer rates continued to be observed as participants reduced their animal-food consumption all the way down to 1.7 small servings per week. Under this level, there is not enough data available.

Some smaller studies suggest that a small amount of fish added to a vegetarian diet adds benefit, which is the result of the documented benefits from the increased DHA-fat from fish. This benefit can be achieved and heart reversal maximized on a strict vegetarian diet by including flaxseeds and nuts that contain omega-3 such as walnuts and the addition of a DHA supplement. Whether you are a strict vegetarian or not, your diet still must be plant-predominant to achieve protection against both heart disease and cancer.

Certainly, more than a few small servings per week of animal foods (even if low in saturated fat) starts to increase cholesterol significantly and, in population studies, we observe an increasing incidence of heart attacks in susceptible individuals.

Most of my heart patients choose to follow a strict vegetarian diet. They do not want to chance putting even a little bit of gasoline on the fire. By taking a supplement of DHA fat, and utilizing a vegetarian diet, we see a dramatic end to their chest pains (angina), increased exercise tolerance, and most often, a reversal of their heart problems forever.

It is important to note that a vegetarian or vegan diet is deficient in meeting the nutrient needs of most individuals for vitamin B12; supplementation is essential. Some unique individuals with a genetic need for higher amounts of non-essential amino acids may feel healthier with a very small amount of animal products added to their diet, but this increased requirement that is rarely observed can also be met with a nutritional supplement that supplies the required need, such as extra carnitine and taurine.

It is also important to make sure Vitamin D intake is adequate in those not getting sufficient sunshine to meet their Vitamin D needs. Deficiency of Vitamin D is epidemic in America and this deficiency does not merely contribute to the development of osteoporosis, but to cancer and heart disease as well.

The supplementation plan in this book complements a healthy vegan diet to assure nutritional completeness and to maximize results. This recommended diet plan is rich in calcium and iron from green vegetables, contains adequate protein, and is otherwise extremely nutrient dense.

Diabetes Funding Doesn't Focus on Long-Term Success

The New York Times coverage of the diabetic crisis in New York City continues with an alarming investigation into modern health insurance's coverage and treatment options for people living with diabetes. As the Times reports, most insurance companies do not focus on long-term treatment with intent to cure. Instead, the funding is directed to expensive procedures that address acute symptoms. Ultimately the patient remains sick and continues that way indefinitely.

Ian Urbina of The New York Times reports that in the treatment of diabetes, success often does not pay:

With much optimism, Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan opened its new diabetes center in March 1999. Miss America, Nicole Johnson Baker, herself a diabetic, showed up for promotional pictures, wearing her insulin pump.

In one photo, she posed with a man dressed as a giant foot - a comical if dark reminder of the roughly 2,000 largely avoidable diabetes-related amputations in New York City each year. Doctors, alarmed by the cost and rapid growth of the disease, were getting serious.

At four hospitals across the city, they set up centers that featured a new model of treatment. They would be boot camps for diabetics, who struggle daily to reduce the sugar levels in their blood. The centers would teach them to check those levels, count calories and exercise with discipline, while undergoing prolonged monitoring by teams of specialists.

But seven years later, even as the number of New Yorkers with Type 2 diabetes has nearly doubled, three of the four centers, including Beth Israel's, have closed.

They did not shut down because they had failed their patients. They closed because they had failed to make money. They were victims of the Byzantine world of American health care, in which the real profit is made not by controlling chronic diseases like diabetes but by treating their many complications.

Insurers, for example, will often refuse to pay $150 for a diabetic to see a podiatrist, who can help prevent foot ailments associated with the disease. Nearly all of them, though, cover amputations, which typically cost more than $30,000.

Patients have trouble securing a reimbursement for a $75 visit to the nutritionist who counsels them on controlling their diabetes. Insurers do not balk, however, at paying $315 for a single session of dialysis, which treats one of the disease's serious complications.

Dr. Fuhrman continually stresses that the best way to prevent, control, and eventually cure diseases like diabetes is through nutritional excellence (as described in his books) and exercise. Many of his diabetic patients are able to maintain excellent health without any medications--some of their stories are in DiseaseProof's Success Stories.

In the member center of Dr. Fuhrman.com, he recently talked to members about the importance of exercise for diabetics:

The most effective prescription for diabetes is exercise. An essential component of my prescription for diabetes is daily exercise; it is more important than daily medication. Two hundred calories a day of formal exercise on an incline treadmill and an elliptical machine are a great goal to shoot for. It is not an official recommendation of anyone except me.

Tags:

Reversing Diabetes: Harnessing the Power Within Ourselves

Janice S. Lehet discusses how Eat to Live changed her life (This story originally appeared on Dr.Fuhrman.com):

"There is no failure, except in no longer trying; no defeat, except from within; no insurmountable barrier, except our own inherent weakness of purpose." Anonymous

Four months ago, I was grossly overweight, had triglyceride and cholesterol levels of nearly 400, and received reports that my liver function tests exceeded the normal range by 25%. Experiencing numbness in my face and foot, I checked into the emergency room at a local hospital fearing that I might have been experiencing a stroke. I don't think I had a stroke since I was released after an overnight stay, but my admittance to Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington, New Jersey changed my life.

After ten years of knowing that I had diabetes, I had regressed to a position of taking three daily potent time release pills to manage my glucose levels in spite of my sincere efforts to manage the disease as carefully as possible. I found that as my pill intake increased so did my glucose levels. Still, my doctors continued to increase the medicine's dosage in spite of my discussions with them about articles in the New York Times and other publications revealing that the drug could potentially cause heart failure and kidney disease. One doctor dismissed the articles and touted the benefits of taking the drugs, again weighing such "benefits" against the deleterious effects of the disease.

The pills prescribed to lower my triglycerides and cholesterol levels ravaged my body with pain since I was among the small percentage of patients who cannot safely tolerate statin drugs. Still, the doctor who prescribed the drugs kept changing the prescriptions to other statins, which caused the same symptoms.

As I noted the drugs' potential side effects that I had read about on the Internet, my doctor at the time advised me, "Stay off the Internet. You need to take these or suffer the consequences." Then, he gave me several packets of Baycol. Of course, Baycol was removed from the market because of its serious side effects! Luckily, I had graciously taken the packets but never ingested them.

I don't believe that traditional doctors mean to overmedicate their patients. I believe that they do the best they can based on their training and current medical practices. Most doctors follow a specific path according to having always treated illnesses by medicating their patients. I must add in their favor that some modern medicines have prolonged the human life span even though medicines are not the "magic bullet" for all patients or all diseases.

I need to mention that I did try a nutritional approach to management throughout my bout with diabetes, and I committed myself fully to following the advice of those nutrition professionals. I now believe that I did not receive suitable or even accurate advice in both of the programs. My previous nutritionist kept telling me how "great" my diet was although my glucose average kept rising.

I believe I am an example that Type 2 diabetics can reverse their disease, but only the most courageous and innovative thinkers in the medical profession can help us free ourselves of medicine and direct us to healing our own bodies by eliminating the causes of the disease. I found such a doctor in Joel Fuhrman, M.D.!

Dr. Fuhrman, a board-certified family physician in private practice in New Jersey who specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods, had recently opened an office at the hospital's professional center, and I read about his work in reversing patients' diseases while I was waiting to leave the hospital.

In mid-June, I had my first appointment with Dr. Fuhrman who put me on a nutritional plan phasing in specific kinds of healthy foods, supplements and exercise as part of a program that worked wonders for me within a four month period. By July, I had lost 11 pounds. By August, I had lost 21 pounds and reduced my serum cholesterol to 180 and my glucose level to a thirty-day average of 110. Now, in October, my thirty-day average is 103. To date, I have lost 40 pounds and still plan to lose an additional ten since the plan is so easy to follow.

Under the guidance of this knowledgeable physician, I found that I had the power within myself to be healthy and diabetes free once again. The journey to restored good health took only four months under Dr. Fuhrman's direction.

I sincerely hope that my personal renaissance-my delivery to excellent health-will be an inspiration of hope to many other senior citizens and others who suffer from Type 11 diabetes, high triglycerides, high cholesterol, and/or potential liver or kidney failure or worse. At age 66, I am now in better health than I was twenty years ago since I no longer have diabetes, high serum cholesterol levels or high triglycerides, and I am medicine free.

At this writing, I find myself in excellent health once again. I feel great and look six dress sizes better-since I literally plummeted from a size 12 to a size 6 within the first three months under Dr. Fuhrman's care. Most important, is that I have enormous energy and can complete five miles of rigorous exercise on my tread mill within an hour with little effort each day. I feel better now than I did at age 50!

Dr. Fuhrman is one of our country's leading experts on nutrition and natural healing. I feel lucky to have discovered him. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and television shows including Good Morning America, CNN, Good Day NY, TV Food Network and many more. He has been interviewed for Esquire, Woman's World Magazine, Food and Wine, Ebony, Health Confidential, Mothering Magazine, Health Science, Bottom Line, and many others.

Dr. Fuhrman is committed to sharing his formula for successful diabetes reversal through this book, for diabetics, this is a "must own" publication. I can testify to that-by my "new" body, my flood of energy, my good health, and the knowledge I have gained that will help me control my own future health. I am a living example that Dr. Fuhrman's writings and practices are most effective!

A footnote: To those senior citizens who feel that it is too late to improve their health, I point them to Alexander Graham Bell who said,

"Sometimes we stare at a door that is closing that we see too late the one that is open."

Prostate Cancer Screenings: an Imperfect Science

The Associated Press reports that two widely used tests for prostate cancer failed to save lives in a new study; 1,002 men underwent a blood test that measures prostate specific antigen, or PSA, and a digital rectal exam, the rubber-glove test in which a doctor feels for abnormalities in the prostate through the rectal wall. Study co-author Dr. John Concato, a clinical epidemiologist at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System comments:

For now, doctors should tell men that screening tests for prostate cancer are not perfect, and men should decide for themselves whether to get screened.

Dr. Howard Parnes of the National Cancer Institute adds:

We should tell patients about the uncertainty. All too often we behave as if we know screening is a good thing.

A 1999 study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine yielded similar results is mentioned:

In the study, published in Monday's Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers compared two groups of men treated at 10 Veterans Affairs medical centers.

One group consisted of 501 men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer and later died of that disease or other causes. Researchers chose 501 men who matched the first group for age and other factors, but who remained alive.

The researchers found that the men who were alive were no more likely to have been screened than the men who died of prostate cancer. The study was based on data from 1991 through 1999, the early years of PSA screening.

The findings support an earlier review by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. That agency said in 2002 that it found "insufficient evidence" for a recommendation that men be screened.

Thankfully, diet gets attention as a method to combat prostate cancer.
Research did show that a diet high in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

In an August 2005 DiseaseProof post Dr. Fuhrman addresses prostate cancer screening:

Almost all men who eat the Standard American Diet (SAD) or something like it will develop prostate cancer. There is no point in screening for it because if you are over 60 you most likely already have some prostate cancer cells in your prostate. If you choose screening, screen for the rise in PSA (PSA velocity) and ignore the total PSA number.

The good news is that even if you already have prostate cancer, it can be induced to grow faster or grow slower based on your diet-style. If you have a slow-growing, less-aggressive cancer, dietary excellence alone can offer tremendous assurance that your cancer never will become aggressive. I have observed numerous patients who have prostate cancer significantly drop and maintain lowered PSA readings through nutritional interventions.

A Tale of Two Cities: New York's Diabetic Dilemma

Continuing from yesterday's story, New York Times reporter N.R. Kleinfeld probes deeper into New York City's diabetic epicenter. In East Harlem diabetes is extremely common. The next neighborhood to the South, on the other hand, has one of the lowest rates in the city. As the article explains, culture and income drive important dietary differences:

A few things to notice. On Third Avenue, around the corner from the art shop, a banner outside McDonald's proclaimed, "$1 Menu." Down the way, plastered on Burger King, "New Enormous Omelet Sandwich. It's Huge." At KFC, a sign boasted, "Feed Your Family for Under $4 Each."
The art-shop gatherers sometimes talked about 96th Street, the tangible southern divide of a neighborhood and of a disease. Go north of 96th Street and you enter a constricted world laden with poverty. Go south and you find promise and riches, thin not fat, the difference between East Harlem and the Upper East Side, the difference between illness and health.
Go north and the chances of bumping into a diabetic are maybe 20 times greater than if you go south. For the Upper East Side, according to the health department, has the lowest prevalence in the city, about 1 percent.
In East Harlem, people sometimes have to choose between getting their diabetes medication and eating. They sometimes share their pills, cut them in half and take half-dosages. They improvise. Everywhere blare the signals that the best meal is the biggest meal.
Nutritious food exists, but it isn't easy to find. Dr. Carol R. Horowitz, an assistant professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, heads an East Harlem coalition trying to improve diabetes care. She oversaw a study several years ago that tracked the availability of diet soda, low-fat or fat-free milk, high-fiber bread, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables in food stores in East Harlem and the Upper East Side.
Stores on the Upper East Side were more than three times more likely than those in East Harlem to stock all five items. It did not seem to matter that East Harlem has more than twice as many food stores per capita as its wealthier neighbor to the south.

The plot thickens. Kleinfeld points out that a person's image also has a lot to do with their food selection. A resident of East Harlem comments:

"We've got cultural differences. Here, for a guy to eat a salad, he's a wimp. He'll eat a big portion of rice and beans and chicken. The women can't be chumps, either. A woman can eat a salad but has to eat it on the low. She has to do it quiet. They make fun of you: What are you, a rabbit?"

Diabetes Mine also has news that New York City recently announced plans to track people with diabetes.

For more of Dr. Fuhrman's thoughts about the diabetes epidemic, refer to New York City's Diabetes Epidemic from yesterday.

Childhood Ear Infections: A Multibillion-Dollar Industry

Ear infection, or otitis media is the most common medical problem for children in the United States, and it is the most common reason for prescribing antibiotics for infants and children. Not only do nine out of ten children develop at least one ear infection each year, but almost one-third of these children develop chronic congestion with fluid in the middle ear that can lead to hearing loss and make the child a candidate for myringotomy, or tube placement by a specialist.

Babies who drink from a bottle while lying on their backs may get milk and juice into their eustachian tubes, which increases the occurrence of ear infections. Children who are breast-fed for at least a year have been shown to have much fewer infections than those weaned earlier.1

Studies also point to the fact that most ear infections early in life are viral, not bacterial.2 The vast majority of ear infections resolve nicely on their own, whether bacterial or viral, without an antibiotic. It is a common practice in this country to treat all ear infections with an antibiotic. Whether bacterial or not, our children get a routine prescription for an antibiotic at every minor illness. This cycle often is repeated many times, which may beget other medical problems in adulthood.

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New York City's Diabetes Epidemic

One in twenty people has diabetes in this country, more than 16 million Americans. New York City in particular is quietly approaching a diabetes crisis. N.R. Kleinfield of the New York Times reports:

An estimated 800,000 adult New Yorkers - more than one in every eight - now have diabetes, and city health officials describe the problem as a bona fide epidemic. Diabetes is the only major disease in the city that is growing, both in the number of new cases and the number of people it kills. And it is growing quickly, even as other scourges like heart disease and cancers are stable or in decline.

The dangers of diabetes are twofold. Not only is the disease itself dangerous, but more than 70 percent of adults with Type II diabetes die of heart attacks and stroke. Kleinfield points out additional complications resulting from diabetes:

Diabetics are two to four times more likely than others to develop heart disease or have a stroke, and three times more likely to die of complications from flu or pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Most diabetics suffer nervous-system damage and poor circulation, which can lead to amputations of toes, feet and entire legs; even a tiny cut on the foot can lead to gangrene because it will not be seen or felt.
Women with diabetes are at higher risk for complications in pregnancy, including miscarriages and birth defects. Men run a higher risk of impotence. Young adults have twice the chance of getting gum disease and losing teeth.

There is a simple explanation for instances of diabetes in New York City and the entire country. As our country's weight has risen, diabetes has increased accordingly. The worldwide explosion in diabetes parallels the increase in body weight. Kleinfield presents the factors attributed to climbing rates of diabetes in our sedentary nation:

  • An aging population
  • A food supply spiked with sugars and fats
  • A culture that promotes overeating and discourages exercise
  • In Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live he outlines a vegetable-based, high-nutrient diet that is instrumental in preventing and reversing disease. For those already stricken with the disease he offers some dietary suggestions to help control its effects:

  • Refined starches such as white bread and pasta are particularly harmful; avoid them completely
  • Do not consume any fruit juice or dried fruits. Avoid all sweets, except fresh fruit in reasonable quantities. Two or three fruits for breakfast is fine, and one fruit after lunch and dinner is ideal. The best fruits are those with less sugar — grapefruit, oranges, kiwis, strawberries and other berries, melons, green apples
  • Avoid all oil. Raw nuts are permitted, but only one ounce or less
  • The name of your diet is the "greens and beans diet"; green vegetables and beans should make up most of your diet
  • Limit animal food intake to no more than two servings of fish weekly
  • Try to exercise regularly and consistently, like dispensing your medication. Do it on a regimented schedule, preferably twice daily. Walking upstairs is one of greatest exercises for weight loss
  • Check out this previous post for success stories about how how the Eat to Live diet can help defeat diabetes.

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    Salads from Around the World

    Need a bite to eat? Try these globally inspired salads from Dr. Fuhrmans book Cholesterol Protection For Life:

    Indian Mango Salad

    1 red pepper chopped
    1 red onion chopped
    ½ tbsp. VegiZest or other low-salt vegetable seasoning
    2 mangos peeled and sliced
    2 firm tomatoes, chopped
    1 pinch chili powder
    2 stalks celery, chopped

    Mix all ingredients in a covered bowl and refrigerate.

    Greek Chick Pea Salad

    16 ounce can of unsalted garbanzo beans
    1 boiled potato, peeled and chopped in chunks
    3 plum tomatoes, chopped
    ½ onion chopped
    1 green apple peeled, cored and chopped
    3 tbsp. Spicy Pecan vinegar
    1/2 tsp. chopped cilantro
    12 half pecans, chopped
    1 cucumber, chopped

    Mix all ingredients together.

    Salad with Spicy Russian Dressing

    2 heads romaine lettuce, sliced
    2 cucumber, sliced
    3 tomatoes, sliced
    ½ red onion, slivered thin
    1 red pepper, sliced
    ¼ cup soy milk
    1 4 oz can tomato paste
    1 tbsp. fig vinegar
    ¼ tsp. chili powder
    12 blanched almonds
    ½ avocado

    Make salad dressing by blending avocado, almonds, vinegar, soy milk and chili powder. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, add the dressing, cover the bowl with a tight lid and shake to mix thoroughly.

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    Pharmaceutical Rep Urges Healthy Diet Over Drugs

    Here's a great e-mail that recently came into Dr. Fuhrman's office:

    I just wanted to tell you that I've been eating primarily a vegan diet for the last seven months, with a lot of it being raw fruits and veggies.

    I have personally dropped ten pounds, and feel great. I really didn't need to lose this weight, but I am loving it! I am 5'2" and now weigh 112lbs. That being said, I workout almost everday so I am also a lot of muscle.

    Recently my HDL increased substatially as well, which is truly amazing. My fiance has lost over thirty pounds, and I am so proud of him!

    I also find your way of practicing medicine ideal. I am personally a pharmaceutical rep and promote a diabetic medicine. It is interesting to me the corelation between diabetes and eating. You would also be amazed at the offices I call on. When I order healthy, vegetarian lunches for offices, they complain that it's not some deep fried chicken choice! And these are the same people who are telling their patients to eat well.

    It's astonishing. I am constantly being picked on in these same offices for my dietary choices too! It's weird. This is the problem with our society today. It's easier for physicians to just throw medications at patients, rather then really consult with them about diet and exercise.

    That being said, those that do consult with these patients--a lot of the patients are not compliant. It's like asking an alcoholic to quit drinking. These behavioral patterns are embedded early into these patients.

    I want to tell you thank you for all the good work you do. If more people followed your advice, we would find Americans would be living much healthier, productive lives. Let's face it: diabetes and cancer are expensive! Seeing the typical diabetic will be on about six medicines, if not more!

    Thank you.

    Your Doctor Lied: You Do Have High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol

    I know you were told that if your blood pressure is below 140/90, it is normal. Unfortunately, this is not true, either. It is average - not normal. This number is used because it is the midpoint of adult Americans older than sixty. The risk for strokes and heart attacks starts climbing at 115/70.

    In societies where we do not see high rates of heart disease and strokes, we don't see blood pressure increase with age. In rural China the healthy elderly had the same low blood pressure readings as they did when they were kids. Almost all Americans have blood pressure that is unhealthfully high. At a minimum, we should consider blood pressure higher than 125/80 abnormal.

    Numerous scientific investigations have shown that the following interventions have some degree of effectiveness in lowering blood pressure.1

    • Weight loss
    • Sodium restriction
    • Increased potassium intake
    • Increased calcium and magnesium intake
    • Alcohol restriction
    • Caffeine restriction
    • Increased fiber intake
    • Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables
    • Increased physical activity or exercise

    Studies have shown controlling sodium intake and weight loss to be effective in reducing blood pressure, even in the elderly.2 How can you implement these interventions into your lifestyle? It's simple. Eat many more fruits, vegetables, and legumes; eat less of everything else; and engage in a moderate amount of exercise. High blood pressure is relatively simple to control.

    I encourage my patients to do what it takes to normalize their blood pressure so they do not require medication. Prescribing medications for high blood pressure has the effect of a permission slip. Medication has a minimal effect in reducing heart attack occurrence in patients with high blood pressure because it does not remove the underlying problem (atherosclerosis), it just treats the symptom. Patients given medication now falsely believe they are protected, and they continue to follow the same disease-causing lifestyle that caused the problem to begin with, until the inevitable occurs -- their first heart attack or stroke. Maybe, if high blood pressure medications were never invented, doctors would have been forced to teach healthful living and nutritional disease causation to their patients. It is possible that many more lives could have been saved.

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    Tailgating Without the Pork Rinds

    As if the holidays weren't enough of an assault on your healthy diet, now football fans are gathering to watch bowl games and the NFL playoffs. If you're going to be snacking in front of the tube, use these nutrient-rich tailgate party recipes and you can snack away without being unhealthy. (These recipes are from Dr. Fuhrman's book Eat to Live.)

    Grandma Tillie's Eggplant Dip
    1 eggplant
    1 tomato, diced
    1 green or red pepper, diced
    1 large onion, diced
    dash of Mrs. Dash seasoning

    Bake the eggplant in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or microwave it for 8-11 minutes. In a covered, shallow pan or pot, steam-fry the tomato, pepper, and onion until soft. Scoop out or peel the eggplant and blend it with the steamed vegetables and seasoning.

    Raisin Coleslaw
    ½ cup raisins
    ½ cup apple juice
    ½ baked potato, skin removed
    1 tsp. mustard
    1 tbsp. lemon juice
    4 cups cabbage, shredded
    2 cups carrots, shredded
    1 cup beets, shredded (optional)
    2 cups apples, peeled and shredded
    ¼ cup scallions, finely chopped

    Blend or Vita-Mix the raisins, apple juice, potato, mustard, and lemon juice, then mix all the ingredients together.

    Bean Burgers
    ½ cup sunflower seeds
    2 cups red or pink canned beans (unsalted)
    ½ cup minced onion
    ½ tsp. chili powder
    2 tbsp. ketchup
    1 tbsp. wheat germ or oatmeal

    Chop the sunflower seeds in a food processor or hand chopper and mash the beans with a potato masher or food processor and mix. Mix in the remaining ingredients and form patties. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can pick up each patty and compress it firmly in your hands to reform the burger. Then cook for another 15 minutes on each side.

    Hungry for more? Check out this recipe for a Quick Soy Cheese Pita Pizza from a previous post.

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    Tuesday Health Notes

    NY Times Prediction: Healthier Food in 2006

    The New York Times writer Kim Severson says the big food trend of 2006 will be toward healthier food.

    ...one food trend rises above all others. With an aging population, an obesity crisis and a growing appreciation of bolder flavors and artisanal ingredients, American consumers increasingly want products that are perceived as natural, authentic and healthy, food consultants say.

    "The move to 'real' food has legs and will be around for quite a while," said Marc Halperin, director of the Center for Culinary Development in San Francisco, where major food companies turn for trends and recipe development.

    Interest in healthier, fresher food is in part a function of demographics. Aging baby boomers with palates seasoned by travel and fine dining are looking for food that not only tastes good but might ease their aching joints and weakening organs...

    Consumers regard healthy as synonymous with natural and authentic, so the category of fresh, minimally processed and organic foods will continue to grow. But just because a food may have organic ingredients doesn't necessarily mean it has health benefits. Cheetos, for instance, now come in a "natural" version, made with organic cornmeal...

    Grocery chains like Whole Foods and the growing network of farmers' markets, of which there are now 4,000, are the new theaters of this handmade indulgence.